We now come to the end of the Discover Phase and enter the Design Phase in the Design Workshop. In this article we describe the course of the workshop and how you can get ready for it.
The Design Workshop is the most creative part of the Business Design Process, in which the Project Team creates and visualises solutions to the sponsor's problem or challenge. This can be a new Business Model, a new product, service or software. The ideation is based on synthesised knowledge and insights gained in the Discover Phase. These insights will be presented by responsible team members in a visual way for each discover area. Step by step, all findings will be collected on a "Discover Wall" and categorised by the help of an Insights Matrix to identify "Golden Nuggets" as basis.
The second part of the workshop is dedicated to the preparation of the Validate Phase, which includes the definition of open questions and success-critical hypotheses as well as the setup of corresponding experiments (see Hypotheses & Experiments). In some cases, we also design initial market offerings that allow us to charge customers and enable us to validate hypotheses under 100% reality (see Lean Offerings). At the end of the workshop, we always define clear tasks and assign them to the members of the project team (see Action Plan).
2-3 full days + preparation and documentation
Optional: External experts temporarily
As a Project Team Member
The first phase of intense work is done and you will have gathered numerous insights, positive and negative ones, through observations, interviews, desk research and other means. These insights will now start to act as a base for the upcoming Business Design. But before they can be used, it will be important to consolidate the findings from all team members and establish a common understanding of the key learnings with their importance and impact on the innovation topic. This workshop will mark the first turning point for you as team member, where your coach will take you through a change from an explorers perspective into the perspective of a designer.
The Design Workshop can easily become two very stressful days with a lot of content to be covered and a change of perspective taking place. But the good news is, you can avoid that coming well prepared and ready to share what you learned (see box below).
Ensure that all Discover Phase activities you have been responsible for are fully documented and ready to be accessed in case of questions during the workshop (interview transcripts, observation documentation, research references and extracts, etc.)
Consolidate all your Discover Phase findings for each of the discover area(s) you have been responsible for.
Reflect and extract your key insights. Coordinate with other team members in case you have shared activities for your discover area with them.
Prepare an insights briefing (10-15 min. presentation) for your team to explain what you did and what key insights you extracted from your discover area. Remember: Be concise! / Be visual!
Free up your calendar for the days and make sure you can attend the workshop with 100% attention
Arrange travel and accommodation in cases needed
As a Business Design Coach
For you as a Business Design Coach it is now time to enable your team to translate all insights from the Discover Phase into a solid Business Model that describes how value is created for both, the customers and the organisation. Be aware that your team is now usually challenged by the first set fallacies, like the confirmation bias. Try to take on a "researchers" position and asses all discussions as objective as possible.
An optional but highly recommended element of the Design workshop is the visualisation of the designed solutions as different kinds of Prototypes. This may include building a landing page illustrating parts of the Business Model, software mockups or even physical product designs with professional designers (see Visualising Ideas). In best case, this happens overnight between day 1 and 2.
Since the Design Workshop stretches over two days, you should schedule 2-3 full days of execution as well as the same amount for preparation (see box below) and documentation.
Ensure that your team is ready with synthesised insights from the Discover Phase, visualised and printed so that it can be displayed and presented in the workshop room
Invite experts for visualising ideas (e.g. designers, prototyping engineers) to join
Prepare and print all tools & materials
Coordinate with the Team Manager that all team members are invited, travels and accommodations are arranged
Check availability of sponsor during Design Workshop and schedule a short visit (optional on day 2)
Define the agenda and align it with the Team Manager
Book and organise room & catering
5. Signs of Success
We consider the Design Workshop as a success...
...if we have designed promising solutions to the sponsor's problem or challenge based on insights we have gained in the Discover Phase
...well, not only promising: They should be surprising, sometimes unbelievable and occasionally "out of this world"
...if the team stops complaining about time and personal availability: They start to be proud of what they do
...if the project team is fully committed to work on the tasks assigned to them and see a reason why this is important
...if the sponsor can't await to see the first results in a Sneak Preview
6. Tools & Materials
1x "Moderation Wall" with purpose and agenda
5x Pin boards or large foam boards & moderation kit
1x Flip chart with paper
1x Insights Matrix / "Golden Nuggets"
25x Idea Cards
1x Video Stage
3x Video arms / rigs
1x Clamp for mobile phone
Optional: 2x Video lamps with power supply
4x Job(s) to Get Done templates
25x Validate Cards
1x Time Timer
Optional: "You are now leaving your comfort zone" carpet
Optional: 1x Anti-Bullsh*t Spray
Optional: Customer's Glasses
Optional: Tools for Virtual Collaboration
All documents, pictures, videos, etc. from Discover Phase are stored in a shared storage space
8. Q & A
What if we figured out that we haven't learned anything surprising in the Discover phase? If you realize that in the workshop, it is too late. Make sure that you get a feeling prior to the workshop what key learnings are.
What if our created ideas are boring and not really new? Three exercises help teams get out of their box:
Introduce the participants to the Business Model Inspirator and let them pick 2-3 examples from the Inspirator to build the generic pattern of the examples (e.g. Freemium) into their business model.
Build more scenarios with an increased level of the intended customer feedback from "surprising" to "unbelievable" or even "out of this world".
Use trigger questions to expose your ideas to extreme circumstances, such as "How would you change your business model if you would have to cut your operational costs instantly by 50%? What if you have to make 10x more revenue over the next 3 years than actually planned? How would Google / Start-up X / Kim Jong-un run our business?".
Bring your "job(s) to get done" statements to another level to create disruptive ideas. See example.
Introduce other creativity techniques if none of the above worked out.
How can I smoothen the transition from day 1 (the fun part with designing products, services, business models etc.) to preparing the Validate phase on day 2 (the challenging or sometimes even nasty part)? We know that finding the right questions and hypotheses for the Validate Phase is difficult and rarely a "home run". Before you introduce the Hypotheses & Experiments template, start with the following question and fill the answers on a flip chart paper: "What are killer questions investors would ask to challenge our ideas?"
9. Room & Infrastructure
1x Empty wall: > 420 x 200cm
1x Empty wall: > 220 x 90 cm
Chairs or cube seats
1x Low-distance projector for Project Workspace
1x Table for catering
Hot & cold drinks, snacks or finger food
Consider running the Design workshop not in a boring meeting room, a hotel or conference center. Go to "semi-public" places where the challenge of the project is somehow visible and access to customers is easy (e.g. shops, warehouses, labs).
10. Example Agenda
In some cases the Design Workshop has to take place in a virtual work environment, which influences the agenda. Check out our Miro Board to facilitate the Design Workshop online.
08:30 - 09:00
Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"
09:00 - 09:30
Welcome and introduction to the Design Phase
Team Manager & Coach
09:30 - 11:30
Presentation of the knowledge and insights from Discover Phase
D / T
11:30 - 12:30
Identification and categorization of "Golden Nuggets" by the help of a Insights Matrix
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 15:00
Ideation: Highly dependent on the project focus e.g.
15:00 - 17:00
Design of business models incl. consistency check
...optional: Briefing of prototyping engineers and designers
17:00 - 18:00
Visual storytelling with videos
18:00 - 18:30
08:30 - 09:00
Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"
09:00 - 09:30
Reflection of day 1 incl. "movie time" and reviewing the visuals / prototypes (may need more time here)
...optional: Short visit of sponsor
Team manager & Coach
09:30 - 10:00
Introduction to the Validate Phase
10:00 - 12:30
Discovery of questions (= exploration) and hypotheses (validation) and setup of experiments
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 15:30
Design of lean offerings / MVP
15:30 - 17:00
17:00 - 18:00
Wrap-up and farewell
* P = Presentation | D = Discussion | B = Break | T = Teamwork